Arcade Update – My first How-To video!

So, I had the opportunity last night to make my first How-To video.  I was having trouble figuring out how to connect some Ikea lights to my arcade’s control board.  I checked YouTube and nobody had a video on how to accomplish exactly what I was looking to do.  I can’t be the only one right?  So, I made my first How-To video  🙂

Using Ikea Dioder lights with a Ultimarc iPAC Ultimate IO Board


Facebook may have just saved my mom’s life?

I’m feeling very thankful this morning.  My older sister is a night owl like me.  However, I was working and didn’t see a very odd post from my mother.  Luckily, she did.


My sister tried to message my mom and couldn’t get a hold of her so she called her and noticed that she was speaking nonsense.  My mom lives with my little sister and her husband.  My older sister called my little sister and told her to go get mom help.

Apparently, my mom was unable to go downstairs or find my little sister’s name in her phone’s contacts.

My little sister and her husband were able to get my mom to the ER and they found out she was experiencing a stroke.  All we know at this time is that it wasn’t a major stroke because nothing is showing up on the scans.

We still aren’t able to understand her, but it is my hope that the post was a deliberate attempt to get help.

Why am I posting this before we even know the whole deal?

We have all been told what things to look for when a stroke occurs when the person is face-to-face with you.


However, I never thought (until now) that it was something that could be seen so obviously in a Facebook post.

SHARE this and keep an eye out for complete off-the-wall type posts like this, it could be someone that needs help.

and PLEASE keep my mom in your prayers for a full recovery.



Gotta get new front end software :-(

In case I wasn’t clear in the previous post.  I’m still a month or two away from building the full size cabinet.  This mini-project is my test run.  I want to use this to finalize all the software configurations and the lights.  In order to properly configure the buttons and lights I needed to make a prototype box.   Once I have all the kinks worked out then I will label all the parts for the final installation which will use word that isn’t warped.

Lessons learned so far:


The spinner needs to be moved off to the left side.  First, because the spinner is only used when players take seperate turns.  Therefore, it’d not needed to be in the center.  Plus, if people are playing a popular golfing game, their fingers would smash into the spinner.  (thanks for the collaboration Adam)

Front-End software doesn’t work well with the lights

So the lights were going exactly as planned until I started getting this error message.  I then researched and found out that it is a known issue with the front-end software and apparently the software is a dead product.  So, I’m going to have to use a new front-end for my system.

I’m extremely happy that I decided to do this prototype now.  If I would have gotten the machine fully built I would have been so upset at the extra work needed to fix these major issues.

I was extremely surprised though.  I didn’t have one problem hooking everything up.  All the wiring worked 100% as planned with one small exception.  When I was running the USB I pulled the ground wire from it’s solder point.  Luckily my friend Adam was able to help me solder it back on.

In any case, more pictures to document my efforts!


The underside before any switches and LED’s were installed.


Switches and LED’s are in!  So begins the wire party!


The I/O board is installed and the switches are connected.  Yes, it’s starting to look like a rat’s nest, but wire management will be part of the final install.


All the LED’s have been terminated and connected to the I/O board.


Instead of wiring the joysticks, trackball, and spinner to the I/O board, I decided to pay a little extra and get the USB adapters.  I figure it would take a little bit of the load off of the I/O controller to have them be their own devices.  I then decided I wanted to minimize the amount of wires coming out of the back of the control panel, so I installed a 7-port USB powered hub to the right side of this picture.  Luckily I’ve only used 5 ports so far.  That way, there will be two-ports available when I had the light guns for games like Area-51 and Operation Wolf  😀


Programming the RGB LEDs has begun.  Also, making animated light sequences is time consuming – which is also why I’m glad I’m starting on it now 🙂   Unfortunately, it was at this point I discovered the issue with the current front-end software.  But, I have a path forward which I’m now installing in order to test 🙂  I’m excited because it looks like a better option anyways!!!


Stay tuned!


Arcade update! – IT HAS BEGUN!!!

The electronics for the arcade arrived today.  I won’t build the cabinet for the next month or two, but I need to setup the control panel now so I can begin programming the button mappings and the lighting, including the animation for the lighting.  So Gabi and I went to Home Depot.



Tons of wires and parts, luckily since I already mapped out the dimensions we got the guy at Home Depot to cut them for us.


Marking out the drill points for the controls



Ready for buttons 🙂


Ok, so that was the easy part, next it will be time to flip this thing over and connect all the switches and run a lot of lighting  🙂

Stay tuned!



I’ve voted against Obama, and I voted against Hillary. I’m sick and tired of career politicians. You’re something different, you’re definitely a change. But, as an American, I must make a request of you.
PLEASE, do not take the Obama route.
You’re starting your Presidency the same as Obama did. You have indirect control of both the House and Senate. You can basically do anything you want, just like Obama could.
Obama did what he wanted while pretending to reach out to the right. All he did was anger the right by steamrolling his first couple years. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS.
You don’t have to give anything to the left. You can basically do whatever you want. But, please, make sure to reach out the left and get their buy-in and make deals with them even though there will be nothing per the vote count to make you do so.
Please learn from Obama’s horrible leadership and know that your first two years will be to win over sensible people on the left that are just looking for someone to represent both sides. Make sure to include the left on deals and give them concessions that satisfy everyone. Otherwise, we’ll have a House/Senate flip at midterms and return to guaranteed gridlock. Nobody wants that again.
Bring the concerns of the left into your playbook and do what you do best – make deals. Make deals that are in the best interest of OUR COUNTRY FIRST. Make deals to help ALL AMERICANS.
To my fellow Americans, who do not necessarily care for him (like me), open your minds and give him a chance to prove his leadership. Give him a chance to represent all of us.
Thank you

The hateful “open-minded”

NOTE:  I’ve seen this behavior on both sides.  However, it was written from my point of view.

I’ll be glad to see this election over. No matter who wins, we’re screwed either way. The part that upsets me the most about this election is the pure hate coming out of it. I’ve been accused of being racist, sexist, and every other possible disorder known to man because I said I was voting for Trump. Do I like Trump? Hell no, I just have issues with Hillary more. Does it have to do with her being female? No, not at all, I think it’d be great to change things up and finally have a female President – just not her.
The most frustrating part is dealing with my liberal friends that are screaming that non-liberals are hate spewing (insert every other offense here), but don’t see that they’re doing everything they hate.  They scream that people that don’t believe the same as they do are close minded, not forward thinking, and hate other groups because their race, religion, or other beliefs.  However, they are doing the exact thing towards everyone not voting/following their beliefs.
Feel free to hate the politicians, they’re running, they’ve made themselves a target.  But the people that support them (or simply oppose your candidate), just have a different opinion than yours – which is what this country is about.  Please, look through your posts, imagine yourself as a polar opposite, would you be proud of what you’ve posted?  Does such hate promote the bridging of different ideas and beliefs?

The reason why a persona of a typical supporter is created and promoted is to manipulate the public view on the candidate and their supporters.  People generally need to feel part of a group, so make the group seem horrific and you manipulate them to not join it.  Make it seem like Trump’s “supporters” are racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic and you make it socially unacceptable to support Trump or be associated with that group.  Are there some people that fit that description – yes, of course there are.  However, that’s a very small percentage.

Here’s the problem though, you’ve now attacked a very large group of people that don’t fit that description and have made it less likely for them to support you on other issues that they may have otherwise been negotiable.

Have I posted or liked some memes or other items that are one sided?  Yes, mostly because I thought they were funny.  I’ve not once (that I can recall) shared anything that was completely hate filled towards a party’s supporters.

Simply put, don’t say you’re against behaviors of men like Trump, when you yourself are spewing hate to a large portion of the country simply because they don’t believe the same things you do.  You should also not use the term “open minded” if you’re already preparing your argument/rebuttal when hearing the opposition expressing their view.

Every time I start to think that people are becoming independent free thinkers an election comes along and herds them back together again.  Next election, lets try to keep the focus on the people running for the office and leave the people who happen to not agree with you alone.

We got a new printer!


For many years, I’ve had a Lexmark X644e just like the one pictured to the right.  It also had a paper loader underneath which held an extra tray for 250 sheets of paper, and a massive cabinet underneath that would feed up to 1000 sheets of paper.  It would scan in duplex (to email or network), print in duplex, copy, and fax.  For the past year or so it’s been running really low on toner and we didn’t want to pay the ridiculously expense cost for new toner.  It’s finally gotten to the point that it’s not worth keeping.  Plus, there were two downsides to this amazing printer.  It was too big for us (about 4.5 ft tall) and it could only print black & white.

Last weekend I decided to check some prices online and we bought a new printer!

We knew we wanted to print in color especially with the kid’s school work, so we considered our options.  The problem with ink is generally if you don’t use it often the ink can dry out and get messy.  However, ink doesn’t usually cost too much to replace.  Last time I researched, color laser toner replacements were easily over $100.

However, this time when I researched I found that it would cost around $60 to replace one of the colors of toner and I found some deals to replace all the cartridges for around $120-$130…    WTF!!!!   OMG I’m going to look for some color laser printers.

Okay, you may be wondering why I’m getting so excited over a stupid printer.  I remember as a kid my best friend’s dad always had the newest computer stuff and he’d help me figure out various things on the computer from time to time (mostly how to get my Roverboard BBS settings correct).  In any case, I remember when the InkJet printers first came out – I was soooo jealous.  At this point, I only had a Epson line-matrix printer that couldn’t keep alignment.  It couldn’t handle graphics.  Then there was John printing out beautiful pictures on his computer.  I’ve owned four or five InkJets since that time.  Every time I’ve owned one the ink would completely dry up and clog the jets.  So, I always have wanted a color laser printer.


We’ve get a HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw printer and it’s awesome!  Which also motivated me to redesign the logo for my photo stuff.


Again, I know it’s something silly to get this excited about, but I’m a geek who loves peripherals 🙂